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SACN at APPG on Coastal Issues

Oct 18,2006 SACN


SACN are members of the All Parliamentary Group on Coastal and Marine Issues and yesterday attended a meeting of the APPG at Portcullis House in Westminster where Ian Pearson, Minister of State for Climate Change and the Environment, made a presentation, and answered questions from delegate.

The Minister's talk was on the subject of the forthcoming Marine Bill and the Inshore Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Strategy which will be the basis of a major policy review for Government, and posed the question 'To what extent will this work impact upon policy for erosion protection and flood management on the coast?

Following the Minister's presentation, the SACN delegate lead the questioning by pointing out that only recently has it become apparent just how valuable the marine habitat, where coast and sea meet, is to the ecology of inshore waters.

Areas such as muddy creeks, and saltmarsh providing feeding areas for fish fry and other creatures at the bottom of the marine food chain, fuelling stocks of commercial and valuable inshore recreational species.

And such areas are being squeezed out between coastal developments and rising sea-levels, exacabated by engineering solutions to coastal protection which often didn't include recognition of the value of the extremely valuable marine habitat being lost, nor involve any great degree of ecological planning.

The Minister replied that this was changing, and increasingly environmental issues were being addressed when looking at ways of protecting coastal communities.

This was backed up by his official from the Environment Agency who said that plans were looked at first by the EA to assess the need to take account of environmental impacts before being considered by engineers.

The meeting also provided a chance for networking with MPs, government officials and other stakeholders involved in the management of coastal areas.

----

Before the meeting, having met up with Steve Smith from the National Mullet Club (NMC) (who are also members of the APPG), SACN were able to make contact with Martin Salter MP, the Government's spokesman on Angling (who was also in Portcullis House) and were able to discuss progress on current issues with the Bass Management Plan, and proposals being put forward by the NMC for increased protection for mullet.           



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